Interval Training – Beginner to Advanced

May 11, 2011 by

Interval Training, HIIT, Workout, Exercise Interval Training Workout, Workout Routine, Beginners Interval Training


Interval Training has become on of the most effective programs for cardiovascular training, as well as an effective way of blasting your fat burning abilities.
I use to dread spending 45 minutes or more on aerobic training, I literally had to cry my self through it. Steady pace cardio can bring results – if you do it long enough. But in our busy society who has the time to be at the gym for an hour and a half. Not me!  This is where Interval Training Takes the protein bar. It’s fast and effective!

In this post I am going to talk about different types of Intervals you can use to get results at half the time, I will also share the intervals I use my self.

If you are a beginner or if you are more advanced, there is a way to apply Interval Training ( If you never exercised in your life, you should begin with a steady pace cardio for a few month’s, then you can progress to a low impact Interval Training).

This type of training is not just for cardiovascular workout , you can do Interval Training with weights, resistance bands, kettle bell, body weight exercises etc.

Always start out with a good warm up 5 to 10 minutes max ( I recommend at least 10 minutes ) This is the most important and crucial thing you can do before beginning an Interval Training or any type of workout. It will get your body ready and it will prevent you from injuries. You can do steady pace walk, or steady pace jump rope ( I find jump rope to be the best form of warm up ), or jumping jacks and some light stretching. Make sure you warm up your back, knees, shoulders, wrists, and your neck really well. Any of you body parts make cracking noise, that means you didn’t warm up properly.


Interval Training for Beginners


This type of training cannot be done every day, not even if you are at Advanced Level. It becomes very hard on your body because it takes longer to recover.  No more than twice a week.

Whichever form of cardio you pick, it can be treadmill, elliptical machine, rowing machine, stairs, cycling etc. After your warm up you can start out with 20 – 30 seconds of maximum effort, and 45 seconds to 1 minute at a much slower resting pace. If you have to,  extend the rest to 1 and a half minute.  Do this Intervals back and forth for up to 15 minutes, then go into a 5 minute cool down.

Make sure you are switching up the machines or exercises every time, you always want to make your body guess what you’re going to do next. This interval should be followed for two weeks, depending on your progress. I usually increase the progress every other week by a small load.

After you’ve been following this interval for a few weeks, you can start decreasing the resting pace. This time you are going to do 20 – 30 seconds of maximum effort, but you are going to decrease your rest by 10 seconds ( you would be surprised how much of a difference it will make ).   A very important thing to do it to always listen to your body. If you feel sick you have to stop immediately, never push your self unless you are sure you can.

After you’ve been doing Interval Training for at least a month with the Intervals above, you can add 10 to 15 seconds to your maximum effort, but keep the resting pace about the same.  That way you are teaching your body to adopt, and it will pretty fast, as long as you do it gradually.

Another good tip, obviously you are not going to be staring at the clock the whole time you are working out, so you will need a little device which comes super handy called The Interval Timer. There is a very simple model and it is also the older version of an Interval Timer – The Gymboss.  It comes in three colors Pink, Black, and Silver ( If you want to see what they look like, you can find it HERE).

This is a great tool for beginners, it’s about 20 bucks and it’s pretty simple. If you are working out at home and you can’t buy Interval timer at the moment here is a free online interval timer, which works just fine ( you just can’t escape your workout 🙂 ) When you get a bit more advanced you can purchase a Gymboss Max which is what I use, I wrote a post about it HERE ( because I was just getting bored with the old simple interval timer, I needed progress and I found it in Gymboss Max ). The Intervals on Gymboss Max are more complex and you can save them instead of constantly resetting it.


Intermediate – Advanced


This is where real fun begins. When you’ve been working out for a while, you can begin to really play with your intervals and you can progress to a High Intensity Interval Training. You can also increase your Training to three times a week. You resting period is going to come down and your maximum effort will go up a lot.

I do different intervals depending on the exercises I perform ( I mainly do Plyometrics for my cardio ) You shouldn’t feel comfortable during your maximum effort, you should be sweating and your body should be burning, if it’s not – then it isn’t your maximum effort.

You can start doing 45 seconds of maximum and 15 seconds of resting pace. The whole workout should never exceed 25 minutes.

You can also do 4 minutes of different exercise or cardio machine at a time with intervals such as Tabata, 10 seconds of rest 20 seconds of maximum effort for 8 rounds (that’s 4 minutes ). Take a short break and move one to the next exercise.

You can also increase the intervals to 50 seconds of maximum effort and 10 second rest,  with only 4 rounds ( that will still be 4 minutes ).

If you are doing a resistance Interval Training you can take your intervals even further 1 minute 20 seconds of maximum work and 20 seconds rest , for about 20 to 25 minutes. Your rounds will depend on your intervals and the amount of different exercises you are doing. You shouldn’t do more that 6 – 7 exercises per workout with 3 sets or 4 sets for each.

If I am only doing 3 exercises then my sets would increase to 6 sets ( again, the exercises you are performing have to be very intense ( if you are running,  set the highest incline, if you are lifting, lift at a maximum where the last few reps should make you want to cry LOL )

Here is some examples of my Intervals (and I do Plyometrics mixed with free weights or a kettle bell and or a pull up bar, or a medicine ball ), I also love to incorporate Isometric Training ( those will really give you the burn of you life 😉 ) :

Rest / Maximum Effort = #of Rounds ( 6 exercises )

15 / 1: 00 = 18 ( so I will be doing 3 sets of each exercise )

or ( 7 exercises )

15 / 1: 00 = 21 ( still 3 sets )

If I want to do only 3 exercises ( I make sure I pick the one’s that are very intense and work my whole body ) I would do:

10 / 1:00 = 15 ( that would make it to 5 sets of those 3 exercises )

If I want to do 5 exercises I would do:

05 / 55 = 15 ( 3 sets for each, but since the rest is decreased it will be more intense, 15 minutes is enough )

Or if I really want to push my self, I cut the rest completely and I would do an intense exercise followed by a less intense exercise in this sequence:

2 full body exercises:

30 / 30 = 8  ( 4 sets of each, and trust me when those 8 minutes are up, you are going to see stars in your eyes )

You can also mix it up, you can do two different interval trainings in one workout, just split them in half.  This is where the cool Gymboss Max comes in, you can save your intervals and then just recall them.

So here were just a few examples, I have a lot more tricks and intervals up my sleeves, but I am going to save it all for my upcoming workout videos. I know a lot of you have been emailing me asking when I am going to start posting my videos. Since I have a lot of great concepts for them, but I am still working out the fine details – everything is almost ready.   Always feel free to write  me on my email or leave comments here on my blog.



Related Posts


Share This